Every once and awhile I find myself talking to a friend about the fact that her child is coming down with a virus. I usually say something like—“just give her lots of immune boosters, she’ll be better in no time!” Then my friend usually gives me a quizzical look and asks, HOW DO I DO THAT? TELL ME!
Today I’m going to tell you!
When my kids start acting funny and I know they are fighting off a virus, I try to work as many immune boosting foods, drinks and supplements into their diets as possible. Often this is enough to ward off the virus altogether. If they do end up getting sick, the virus is usually mild as a result of this immune support.
So the next time your little one is feeling ill, try these natural immune boosters for kids.
Homemade broths made from organic vegetables are full of trace minerals. Broth is highly absorbable and is almost like giving your immune system an IV drip of liquid gold. We make a big batch of broth weekly in the winter and freeze the extra for days when one of my kids needs an immune boost. Here’s my favorite recipe. Try using this mineral broth as a base for soups or even drink it as tea.
Known as nature’s antibiotic, garlic is anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, anti-fungal, anti-viral. An immune boosting (and very cheap) powerhouse! But kids may not want to eat raw garlic. I have had success chopping garlic up finely and my son swallows it like pills. You can also chop up a clove of garlic and mix it in honey to give to kids. I give my children raw garlic if one of them is in the middle of an acute illness and I make sure we do it with a meal so the garlic isn’t hard on the tummy. Another option is to make vegetable soup (with mineral broth!) and add lots and lots of garlic, or chop up fresh garlic and sprinkle it into a bowl of soup. Raw garlic has more healing benefits, but if cooked garlic is all your kids will eat…it’s still all good.
Ginger is a powerful anti-inflammatory and immune booster. Raw ginger is easy to sneak into a fresh green vegetable juice. You can also grate 1 teaspoon of ginger and put it in a cup of boiling water. Let it steep for 5 minutes, strain the ginger and drink it like tea. Ginger can be spicy for kids (my daughter won’t touch it) so hiding a little in a vegetable soup might work for sensitive taste buds.
Fresh Green Juice
Live enzymes, vitamins and minerals help the immune system perform at its best. When your little one is feeling down, an immune boosting green juice of: apple, leafy greens (kale the spinach are wonderful), lemon, cucumber and celery will help boost immune function and help your child feel better soon. We do green juices almost daily during the school year as a preventative measure. Green drinks are tasty if you add plenty of apple…your kids will think they are drinking a treat, and you will know they are drinking an immune boosting multi-vitamin.
High Quality Multi-vitamin and Multi-mineral
Multi-vitamins and minerals are so important in today’s world. Historically we’ve been able to get everything we need from food, however, with modern farming practices of today our soils contain less minerals than they used to. As a result, our food contains less vitamins and minerals, too. Finding a quality supplement is tricky business because there are so many fillers and flavorings added to children’s multi vitamins and minerals. I’ve looked high and low for a good supplement and I’m happy to say I’ve found a great one. We take the multi-vitamin in the morning with breakfast and the multi-mineral in the evening before bedtime. I’m happy to report that my kids happily take both and love how they taste.
Our immune systems depend on essential fatty acids to stay in optimal shape. We call these fatty acids “essential” because the body cannot make them for itself and must obtain these fatty acids from food. Wild caught seafood like salmon or sardines are good sources. As well as nuts and seeds like walnuts and chia seeds. You may also get essential fatty acids in the form of a supplement. I prefer a plant-based omega supplement to avoid any heavy metal contamination. We use this brand.
Vitamin C is a powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-viral nutrient. We use an ester-c product that my son (age 9) swallows in capsule form and my younger one (age 5) drinks in a little juice (I open the capsule and sprinkle a little in her juice). I use Ester-C a few times a week with both of my kids. If they are sick I use it daily. You can also consume lots of foods containing vitamin C like oranges and pomegranates.
Zinc is a trace mineral that most of us are deficient in. This is a problem because zinc is critical for immune function. A few times a week I give my kids a few drops of liquid zinc sulfate. If they get sick then I give a few drops daily until they feel better. If you even feel a virus coming on, kick up your zinc levels to help your body fight it off. Zinc is that important!
Elderberry syrup is best to take when symptoms first come on. High in antioxidants and full of anti-viral, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties, elderberry is a powerful natural medicine. I add this to water or juice for my kids.You can also make your own homemade elderberry syrup, too. During the school year I give my kids elderberry a few times a week as a preventative. If one of them gets sick I give it daily.
These herbs support the immune system and help to fight infection. Echinacea in particular has been shown to increase white blood cell activity, the body’s natural immune defense system. You can buy them in tincture form and add them to a bit of water or juice. These two herbs should only be used when a little one comes down with something and should not be used as a preventative on a daily basis. This is the blend that we use (make sure any herbal remedy you buy is alcohol-free).
Probiotic flora (good bacteria) in the gut is the key to our immune function. Lowered immune function is often a sign that the balance of bacteria is off in our digestive tract. To boost immune function, try giving your child a high quality probiotic supplement before bed on an empty stomach. This is the supplement I use with my children and also use with my clients. It tastes like water!
Dosage Information for Children
Are you wondering how much of these supplements to give your child? I recommend using Clark’s Rule if you are not working directly with a health practitioner. For Clark’s Rule The Child’s Dose = (the child’s weight/ 150 lbs) multiplied by the adult dosage found on label. You can find more information here.
When your little one is feeling ill, let them rest as much as possible. Sleep is how the body repairs and heals. Also try a kid-friendly detox bath to help aid your child’s immune system. Find out how to safely do one for children in this post!
Are you interested in learning more about natural remedies?
Then you might love my ebook, Natural Remedies for Children. This book saves you time and money by detailing easy and safe natural remedies for the 11 most common childhood ailments our kids face today. Learn how to build a holistic medicine kit and build strong immune function, too. Click here to get all the details!